LINO LAKES — For the fall season with its abundant harvest and opportunities to teach people about family farming, Waldoch Farm's fourth annual Corn Maze is being held in honor of the United Nations 2014 International Year of Family Farming.
The Lino Lakes farm, located at 8174 Lake Drive, will be open daily 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 20 through Oct. 31.
During that time, the farm will offer a Fall Fun, Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze event for all ages. In addition, free weekend hayrides are being offered to the pick-your-own pumpkin patch.
“In support of our mission to be the community's connection to all things garden, we wanted to do our small part to bring awareness to the important work of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization,” said Doug Joyer, Waldoch Farm field manager and fourth-generation family farm owner. His establishment allows customers to pick their own produce or shop for it at the business farm stand in Lino Lakes.
“We try to sell everything [picked that day] on-site at the farm," Joyer said.
The 2014 International Year of Family Farming promotes such efforts as a way of focusing world attention on eliminating hunger and poverty, providing food security and nutrition, improving livelihoods, managing natural resources, protecting the environment and cultivating sustainable development.
This is the fourth year of the Corn Maze, but the first year Joyer and company have based the seasonal theme on something not connected to the farm. It follows the family’s interest in building awareness of global issues such as hunger and poverty in the context of locally grown produce.
"Family farming is the predominant form of agriculture, both in developed and developing countries," Joyer said.
Joyer's family farm aims to establish a sense of "connectedness" with farming and relationship-building at the local level for patrons.
Despite the population growth in Lino Lakes, with the assortment of produce available at the farm, customers don't have to travel far for fresh produce or a sense of community, Joyer said.
“We [even] have customers from all over, including North Dakota, who pick their own produce here,” Joyer said. “We pick our sweet corn every morning for customers.”
He said Waldoch Farm caters to several of the local schools, offering experiential learning opportunities for students so they can experience what life is like living and working on the farm.
For international customers living nearby, the farm offers a selection of fruit and vegetable options that are more commonly grown overseas to make them feel at home.
“In Minnesota, we grow produce on our farm that they would have in their own [native] country,” he said.
He said he understands the importance of educating the public, especially children, about the importance of buying and selling produce locally. He also understands the value of newspapers and social media as a means of advertising about such efforts.
His favorite method? “Word-of-mouth.”
For those who may be interested in learning more about why it's good to support farms should consider where the money is going. Joyer has a message for them: "By supporting local farms, you're supporting local business.”
For more information, visit waldochfarm.com.